Brave Mama in My Family Story #11 - Leah Ladson

April 04, 2016

Brave Mama in My Family Story #11 - Leah Ladson

This week we speak with Leah who is a talented photographer and runs her own photography business. Leah shares with us about her brave journey, walking with her dad through his battle with cancer and holding the fort back home for her own family at the same time.

How do you juggle the curve balls that life throws at you when you are needed physically and emotionally as a daughter, a wife and a mum all at the same time? Join me as we listen in to another brave mama's story.  

 

///

 

Leah Ladson_Brave mama in my family_heart in box

 

1. Tell us about yourself, where you are based and a little about your little one(s). 

 

My name is Leah. I am 31 years old and I am a Wife, a Mum to two little girls (Aged 4 & 8 months) and run my own photography business; Leah Ladson Photography & Design. I live in Central Victoria with my family, but my work takes me all over Victoria, and sometimes interstate (and hopefully international one day!).

My eldest Missy is insane, in the best way. She is fuelled up and ready to go from the moment she wakes up, right up until she falls asleep. She is inquisitive, independent and extremely stubborn… I have no idea where she got it from ;) . Then our youngest, Audrey, is 8 months old. She has already developed a strong personality, and I somehow I think she is going to be just as strong-willed and fabulous as her big sister! I’m exhausted just thinking about it :|

My Husband, Dez, is endlessly supportive of me & my business, and anything I want to do. He is the Ying to my Yang and encourages me every step that I take, which I am eternally grateful for. We are surrounded by some family, and a lot of amazing friends that lift us up and help us to live the happy life that we lead.

 

 

2. What is the most difficult/challenging thing you had to deal with in your mama-hood journey? 

 

Being a Mum, while watching my Dad lose his battle with cancer was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was torn between being home with my 18month old Daughter and my Husband, and being by my Dad’s side every step of the way. Looking back, I don’t even know how I made it through the other side. I was taking so much time off work during the week to be with him for all of his appointments, and then packing the family up every Sunday and visiting him in the hospital. I did this for 7 months until he took his last breath.

 

Leah Ladson_Brave mama in my family_Heart in Box

 

 

I had so much guilt making Missy sit in the car for 2 hours every Sunday from Bendigo to Melbourne, then sit in a hospital room for 3-4 hours (while trying to keep her entertained, keep her quiet enough for the other patients and making sure she was fed, slept & had a clean nappy), to then put her back in the car for the 2 hour trip home. To this day, I still feel like a horrible person for doing that to her, but I wouldn’t change a thing. We all got to spend some important and memorable times with my Dad before he died, and I knew I had to give my all to him now, because he wasn’t going to be around for much longer.

I remember a point in time, it must have been about 5 months into the 7 month stint where I just wanted to give up. I was so exhausted, I was burnt out, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t be a Mum, a Wife, and a Daughter to a dying man. It was too much… I cried myself to sleep every night with the guilt of it all, and the stress of what to do. None of them I was willing to give up, so I had to find the warrior in me to get through… And I did just that, I found something deep inside myself. I don’t know what it was or where it came from, but I found it.

 

"I had to find the warrior in me to get through… And I did just that, I found something deep inside myself. I don’t know what it was or where it came from, but I found it."

- Leah Ladson

 

heartinbox.com

#Brave Mama in My Family

  

I spent every second I could with my Dad, and did everything I possibly could to continue being a Mum and Wife at the same time. On April 28th 2014, I held my Dad’s hand as he took his last breath and I told myself I could now let go. And my body really did let go, I got so sick for a couple of weeks after his death, because I think my body was just holding on to dear life until he died. I now look back with great pride in how I handled it, and great warmth in my heart knowing I spent every second I could with my Dad, and I don’t have any regrets about the way I handled the situation. I did the very best I could in a bad situation, I was held up by my mega-supportive Husband who stepped up and allowed me to do what I needed to do, I was surrounded by my amazing family, and I made it through.

 

"I did the very best I could in a bad situation..."

- Leah Ladson

 

heartinbox.com

#Brave Mama in My Family

 

 

3. What is the bravest thing you had to do as a mama?

 

Figuring out a way to grieve my Dad’s death around my Daughter. How do you explain death to a 2 year old? How much information is too much? All I wanted to do was lay in bed and cry all day, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want my Daughter to see me like that.

The bravest thing I have ever had to do, is figure out how to grieve being a full time Mum. Every little thing reminded me of my Dad, Missy talked about him constantly – And every time I wanted to lose it – I had to make a choice to put my Daughter first, and my grief second.

 

 

"The bravest thing I have ever had to do, is figure out how to grieve being a full time Mum."

-Leah Ladson

 

heartinbox.com

#Brave Mama in My Family

 

Looking back now, I think had I not been a Mum when I lost my Dad, I would have grieved a whole lot differently. There were so many times I just wanted to drink myself stupid and pass out to forget about what had happened (and I don’t even drink!). But having my sweet-faced girl to look at every day, forced me to take the mature option, and that was to deal with it slowly and rationally.

There were many many times (And still is) where I would sneak off to the toilet or the walk in robe to just cry. I would give myself a couple of minutes to let it out, and then it was time to wipe the tears and go back to being a Mum. Don’t get me wrong, I did cry around her, I didn’t want her to have an unrealistic concept of Death. I explained it to her as best I could, and encouraged her to talk about her Pa at every opportunity.

Most days in the first few months after he died, I would count down the minutes until my Husband got home so I could go to the bedroom and let it all out. Some days I felt like I could explode holding all of that emotion and sadness in.

 

" I did cry around her....I would give myself a couple of minutes to let it out, and then it was time to wipe the tears and go back to being a Mum "

- Leah Ladson

 

heartinbox.com

#Brave Mama in My Family

 

 

4. Is there another brave mama who inspires you? How has she inspired you?

 

My Mum. She is the most amazing person I’ve ever known. She has sacrificed so much for me, and continues to do so. She was there supporting me and my siblings every step of the way with Dad’s illness (My Mum & Dad divorced when I was 5). One by one me and my 4 siblings fell along the way. We each lost it, gave up, got exhausted during those 7 months. And without fail every time, she was there to pick us up.

She moved to Melbourne to look after my 3 younger siblings when my Dad died to relieve the pressure on me (as I was named the legal guardian). When we discussed what we  would do with the younger 3 kids, without hesitation and with full conviction – She said she would move. She transferred her job, she gave up her hobbies, and she moved. The best part about her is that she doesn’t understand why people think she is amazing. She does so much for everyone, and genuinely expects nothing back. She is the rock of our family, and we would be lost without her.

 

Leah Ladson_Brave Mama in my Family_Heart in Box 

 

5. What would you say to another mama who may be going through similar circumstances?

 

One day at a time. It might seem impossible, but dig deep, because you can get through this. Do what you need to do, ask for help, accept help, and look after yourself. It’s the age old saying “You don’t know how strong you are until you have no other choice” - There are no better words to be said. If I watched someone else go through what I went through; I would call them “strong” and “brave” - But when I look at myself, I definitely don’t see myself that way.

 

"One day at a time. It might seem impossible, but dig deep, because you can get through this."

- Leah Ladson

 

heartinbox.com

#Brave Mama in My Family

 

///

 

I personally love what Leah said about how it might seem impossible, but when we dig deep, there is a warrior in all of us.  

Fellow mamas, some of you may face giants this week. Surround yourself with a good support network and may you find that warrior in you and knock those giants off, one baby step at a time.

Have an awesome week ahead. 

x Meng

 

 

 

 

You can follow Leah at:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/leahladsonphotography

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leahladsonphotographer

Website: www.leahladson.com

 




Leave a comment